PFA wants government action after alleged racist abuse of Rudiger

Antonio Rudiger was abused during Chelsea's game at Tottenham and the Professional Footballers' Association believes racism is "rife" in the UK.

Published : Dec 23, 2019 11:55 IST

Antonio Rudiger, Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori
Antonio Rudiger, Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori

Antonio Rudiger, Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori

The Professional Footballers' Association has called for the UK government to launch an enquiry into the proliferation of racism in the sport.

Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger was the target of alleged racist abuse on Sunday at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium during his team's 2-0 Premier League derby win over Spurs.

Manchester United duo Fred and Jesse Lingard were subjected to a similar slur from the stands during its game at Manchester City earlier this month.

READ | Racism mars Chelsea's 2-0 win over Spurs, Lampard trumps mentor Mourinho

Tottenham has pledged to take the "strongest possible action" against any supporters found to have committed racist acts – much as City did in the immediate aftermath of the incident at the Etihad Stadium on December 7.

But the trade union for footballers in England and Wales believes the government also has to play a part as its members suffer on the receiving end of "blatant racism that is currently rife in the UK".

"Following the events at today's Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea game, we are disgusted and dismayed that once again, a Premier League fixture has been tainted by abuse from the stands towards players," a statement from the PFA read.

"Racism has no place in football or society. It is deeply disappointing that some fans continue to display vulgar racist gestures and chants from the stands.

"It has become clear that football players are on the receiving end of the blatant racism that is currently rife in the UK, but they are not alone. The PFA stands beside every player who faces any discrimination. We will continue to fight on their behalf to combat this issue for good.

"Football is part of the fabric of British society. With the huge global audience that English football attracts, we have a responsibility to lead the way with a zero-tolerance policy."

After Rudiger reported abuse to the match officials, head coaches Frank Lampard and Jose Mourinho were informed before three separate announcements over the stadium public address system stated: "Racist behaviour from spectators is interfering with the game."

The PFA statement continued: "Racist abuse in football is not just an issue for black and ethnic minority players, it is an issue for everyone who loves the game. Whilst the protocols in place ensured stadium announcements were executed today, we need to ensure the perpetrators are identified and dealt with according to the law.

"We believe that the time has come for all governing bodies to unite collectively to end this abuse. The PFA calls for a government enquiry into racism and the rise in hate crime within football and immediate and urgent action from an All Party Group at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to address this urgent issue.

"All football stakeholders must work in partnership with police and clubs to drive this issue and accelerate solutions.

"As always, the PFA extends our full support to Antonio Rudiger and any player who has suffered racist abuse. We will not allow this to continue. Now more than ever we must unite and stand strong and together to confront, challenge and eradicate racist abuse in our stadiums and in our country."

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